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Service to mark century since Walmer Aerodrome opened

By Eleanor Perkins

An event to mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of Walmer Aerodrome will take place today.

A service, organised by Walmer Parish Council, will take place on the Hawkshill Freedown, adjacent to the south side of Walmer Castle commemorating the opening in spring 1917 of the Royal Naval Air Service Aerodrome.

During the service a commemorative stand will be unveiled by the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and constable of Dover Castle, Admiral the Lord Boyce.

Walmer Aerodrome
Walmer Aerodrome

The service will start between 4.50pm and 5pm after the arrival of the Lord Warden’s procession from Walmer Castle which will include the vicar of Walmer, the chaplain of the fleet, the deputy chaplain in chief of the RAF and the chairman of Walmer Parish Council.

Walmer Parish Council chairman Pat Heath said: “We will be delighted to welcome members of the public to this historic event but please note that if you wish to attend we request that you are on the Freedown by 4.30pm as there will be restricted movement after this time until the end of the service.

“Hymn sheets will be distributed to members of the public and the choir of St Mary’s Church will lead the singing.

“The Victory War-Time band will provide musical accompaniment.”

A view of the Walmer Aerodrome war memorial
A view of the Walmer Aerodrome war memorial

Cllr Marguerite Beard-Gould is chairman of the committee which has spent nearly four years bringing the event together.

She said: “The idea for the format of the service came from the East Kent Mercury report of a ceremony held on August 7, 1920 to commemorate 16 officers who were stationed at Walmer Aerodrome during the First World War.

“We have tried to recreate it as closely as possible including the same readings and one of the hymns.”

Since this is a memorial service those attending are requested to respect instructions from cadets and stewards and refrain from letting dogs off the lead for the duration of the service.

For further information email clerk@walmercouncil.co.uk or telephone 01304 362363.

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